Chapter 1: New Dawn
“We’ll take it,” William responded to the real estate agent over the phone. He hung up and turned towards the eager faces of his family.
“So? The estate is ours?” James asked from his straight-backed chair.
William nodded. “It appears that it is. The money will be wired to their account today. We can move in as soon as possible.”
“It’s been a long time since we’ve traveled across the pond,” Eleanor commented. “Are you sure we won’t be followed?”
William stood by the floor-length windows that overlooked the mansion estate. He twisted his garnet ring about his long finger and thought intensely about his sister’s question. It had been a long time since they had to uproot their lives, and the continuous running was becoming an unbearable existence.
William had a tall and slender physique with broad shoulders. His skin was deathly pale, and his amber eyes shone with a sense of great sadness and depth. He anxiously ran his fingers through his sleek, black hair and turned to face Eleanor and the others.
“We will do what is necessary. It was only a matter of time before the Hunters found us. You all know what occurred with the Vladimir Clan,” William answered. “I will not allow that to happen to us. Elderidge will live on.”
“I’m sorry, Brother,” Matthew began.
William waved his hand in the air to cut him off. “This is not your fault. It was a minor setback.”
“The human remembered. I hardly call that a setback,” James interjected.
“I’m still learning to control—”
“It’s been four hundred years!” James bellowed at Matthew.
“Enough!” William glared upon each of his family members with glowing eyes. “There’s nothing we can do about it now. What’s done is done. There’s no reason to dwell on it any further. We’re moving to New Orleans, and that is final. I’ll do whatever I have to do to keep this family together and safe.”
James and Matthew nodded their heads in agreement.
“We need to be more careful,” Eleanor said calmly. “Matthew, if you find yourself unable to completely erase the memory of your feeding from a human’s mind, then allow one of us to assist you.”
“I don’t need to be followed around,” Matthew said.
“Obviously, you do,” James replied. “This was a careless mistake that should’ve never happened. Now, look at what we have to do.”
“Calm down, boys,” a voice said from the entrance to the study. Victoria was leaning against the doorframe with her hip cocked to the side. She was a beauty with long curly auburn hair, a flawless ivory complexion, and full, luscious lips.
“And where have you been?” James inquired.
“I was out catching my breakfast. Did I miss anything?” Victoria asked, an eyebrow arched.
“Only the little stunt that Matthew pulled. We’re leaving,” James answered.
“It’s true, Victoria,” William admitted. “We must leave London.”
William sighed deeply. “The human Matthew fed upon a few nights ago was not properly cleansed of their memories. They remembered and were confronted by Hunters in the city. They’re piecing together the memories as we speak, and soon, we’ll be identified as vampires.”
“Why did you have to go and do that, my little brother?” Victoria asked teasingly as she ruffled Matthew’s brown hair underneath her fingertips. He quickly reached up to straighten it.
“This isn’t a game!” James exclaimed coldly.
“Oh, come now,” Victoria laughed it off. “You’re always so uptight. You should learn to live a little. Between you and William, I can’t decide who I loathe more.”
Victoria winked at her cousin. James rolled his eyes and slumped into his chair.
“Our next move is to get everything packed. We haven’t killed a human in almost a century, but the Hunters don’t know our secret behind making our feedings painless. All they know is what they were raised to do. Granted, there are still many clans that resort to killing their prey rather than our catch and release method,” William explained.
“What you mean to say is that we’re rather boring vampires,” Eleanor said with a brilliant smile. She played with her wavy black hair as she slouched in her chair. Dimples appeared underneath her high cheekbones as she smiled.
“Well, I’m off to my room to grab my things. It’s a good thing I decided to keep most of my belongings packed. It makes for a quick getaway,” Victoria lamented as she turned to leave the study.
“Victoria, I’m only doing this to keep you all safe—”
“Don’t, William,” Victoria growled as she spun around on her heel. “It’s not your job to keep us safe anymore.”
“Victoria…” Eleanor pleaded with sad eyes as her younger sister left the room, fury following her.
“She’s right, you know,” Matthew began as he stood from his seat. “You’re not our father, no matter how hard you try to be.”
Matthew left the study after his sister. The room was silent for a few moments as everyone basked in the heated conversation that had taken place. James took a deep breath and turned towards William and Eleanor.
“We can’t keep running like this forever. You know that,” James said. “We’re going to lose them if we keep living like this, in fear. Eventually, we’re going to have to fight for our right to survive on this godforsaken planet.”
“We’re outnumbered, James. We can’t take on all the Hunters. We don’t know what new psychic abilities they possess in this day and age. This isn’t the 17th century. It’s not as easy to be on guard and kill them like it once was. They’ve grown stronger and more intelligent. Not to mention the advancement in technology that has aided them in bringing our kind down,” William explained.
“We’ll always be above the humans. We’re stronger and faster,” James said.
“Yes, but going against humans that have premonitions about our next attacks? That kind of thinking is what got the Vladimir’s wiped out. They, too, believed we were stronger and faster, but that’s not true when they know our every move before we make it,” William pointed out.
“Not all Hunters have that ability. Even humans who do have psychic abilities don’t realize their genetic line is from the Hunters, and some never fulfill that destiny. If we could just—”
“No!” William slammed his fist down upon the mahogany desk. The lamp upon it trembled under his strength. “We’re leaving London, and that’s final. I’ve already completed the deal.”
“We haven’t even seen this place, William. How do we know it’s not a complete wreck?” Eleanor asked.
“The agent I spoke to had it thoroughly inspected. It’s a four-story mansion complete with old Louisiana estate grounds and its own above-ground cemetery. Apparently, it’s very exquisite in taste and befitting for royalty since its recent renovations. It’s not far from the French Quarter. Perfect hunting grounds,” William insisted.
“That does sound divine, but still. I’m a little hesitant about moving to an estate without seeing it for ourselves first. We haven’t had to do that for a very long time,” Eleanor said.
“I’m sure it will do for our purpose,” James said exasperatedly.
“James is right. We aren’t in any position to be picky about where our heads lie.” William sat down in a velvet-covered chair behind the desk and propped his feet up. “Remember to pack light.”
James and Eleanor arose from their seats and exited the study leaving William to his thoughts. William picked up the phone on his desk and began dialing the number to his bank to make sure the wire transfer was truly complete. After doing so, he booked his family tickets from London to New Orleans, all the while praying that the Hunters would not find him or his family before they could escape.